Congress Considers Arbitration Fairness Act of 2009
By James E. Berger and Victoria Lai
On February 12, 2009, U.S. Rep. Henry Hank Johnson introduced, with 36 co-sponsors, H.R. 1020, the Arbitration Fairness Act of 2009 (the Act), which has been referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary. The Act, if enacted and signed into law by President Obama, would work some of the most fundamental changes to U.S. arbitration law since the FAA was adopted in 1925.
The Act has been described by Congressman Johnson as a pro-consumer bill designed to protect the right to a jury trial by preventing the use of mandatory arbitration clauses in employment and consumer contracts. Specifically, Rep. Johnsons press release announcing his introduction of H.R. 1020 identifies contracts involving wireless telephone services, credit cards, elder care facilities, and homebuying as industries where the use of mandatory arbitration provisions has become commonplace.